[I happen to have had training similar to that of Chris Hedges — theology, but was also not ordained (Union Theological Seminary and Mansfield College, Oxford), journalistic experience (academic and Time Inc.), exploration of the foreign affairs as a career option — before settling into teaching philosophy as my major contribution.

I, too, then, am aware of the deviance of current American right wing Christianity — a genocidal war cult mentality contrasting sharply with Jesus’ religion of peace! We would not be mired in Iraq now, had the right wing religionists not put Bush into office and kept him there. Perhaps he is not such a believer as he claims to be, but a caricatured Jesus-as-personal-savior of the commander-in-chief may lurk in his nightmares as all the world cries out “Stop it! No more!”

Needless to say the Christian right did not come out of nowhere. It has been brewing in America for well over a century. The “Southern” denominations which broke off from main stream Protestantism to support slavery during the Civil War and racial discrimination thereafter had their foundations laid by anti-intellectual hucksters much like our present day ones — profiting from human fear and naiveté. And the Nazis made the same appeal to the anxious ones in Germany following upon the Great Depression and they, too, created a Nazified Christian Church to replace real Christianity and drown out the horrors of their crimes against humanity: http://www.evilbible.com/hitler_was_christian.htm

When you read each day of the numbers killed by our troops or their Iraqi allies, remember the Nazi road map which began with similar ‘wars’ against national enemies as a guise for lebensraum (living room)– a drive for global economic dominance for its corporations to be carried out by the lumpenproletariat (unemployed worker) troops misled by hate-filled Nazi propaganda!

As Hedges’ book proposes there are some frightening precedents for current American expansionist policies and they spit in the face of the the religion within which they are being framed. Jesus did not call for ‘staying the course’ or brutal wars against his enemies. Ed Kent]

…………………………

Salon.com, Jan. 08, 2007
The holy blitz rolls on
By Michelle Goldberg
http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/01/08/fascism/print.html

The Christian right is a “deeply anti-democratic
movement” that gains force by exploiting
Americans’ fears, argues Chris Hedges. Salon
talks with the former New York Times reporter
about his fearless new book, “American Fascism.”

Longtime war correspondent Chris Hedges, the
former New York Times bureau chief in the Middle
East and the Balkans, knows a lot about the
savagery that people are capable of, especially
when they’re besotted with dreams of religious or
national redemption. In his acclaimed 2002 book,
“War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” he wrote:
“I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of
Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of
Southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by
Saudi military police, deported from Libya and
Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi
Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion
following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian
Mig-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers,
and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening
rounds of heavy artillery that threw out
thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments.”
Hedges was part of New York Times team of
reporters that won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for
explanatory reporting about global terrorism.

Given such intimacy with horror, one might expect
him to be aloof from the seemingly less urgent
cultural disputes that dominate domestic American
politics. Yet in the rise of America’s religious
right, Hedges senses something akin to the brutal
movements he’s spent his life chronicling. The
title of his new book speaks for itself:
“American Fascists: The Christian Right and the
War on America.” Scores of volumes about the
religious right have recently been published (one
of them, “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian
Nationalism,” by me), but Hedges’ book is perhaps
the most furious and foreboding, all the more so
because he knows what fascism looks like.

Part of his outrage is theological. The son of a
Presbyterian minister and a graduate of Harvard
Theological Seminary, Hedges once planned to join
the clergy himself. He speaks of the preachers he
encountered while researching “American Fascists”
as heretics, and he’s appalled at their
desecration of a faith he still cherishes, even
if he no longer totally embraces it. Writing of
Ohio megachurch pastor Rod Parsley and his close
associate, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken
Blackwell, he says, “[T]he heart of the Christian
religion, all that is good and compassionate
within it, has been tossed aside, ruthlessly
gouged out and thrown into a heap with all the
other inner organs. Only the shell, the form,
remains. Christianity is of no use to Parsley,
Blackwell and the others. In its name they kill
it.”

[snip]

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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